A Washington Post “Best Novel of 2010”

Idaho Territory, June 1887.  A small-town judge takes his young daughter fishing and she pulls out the body of a Chinese gold miner, brutally murdered.  Soon over 30 bodies surface in the wild Snake River along with the mystery of their massacre upstream in remote Hells Canyon.

Inspired by actual events, this intelligent historical thriller—in the Ivan Doig and Leif Engers vein—follows Idaho lawman Joe Vincent as he tracks the killers from the frontier to the courtroom, with the help of Lee Loi, the Chinese miners’ ambitious, Yale-educated agent, and Grace Sundown, a Native American guide with secrets of her own.  They battle for survival amid the suspicion, hatred and greed that roughen the road to equal justice and show us a New World that was both dream and nightmare.


Dana Hand is the pseudonym of co-authors Will Howarth and Anne Matthews. Will Howarth has taught at Princeton University over forty years. His principal fields are environmental literature and history and Anglo-American romanticism. His thirteen books and editions include THE JOHN MCPHEE READER and WALKING WITH THOREAU.  Anne Matthews has taught writing and journalism at Princeton, Rutgers, Columbia and New York University. She is a contributing editor for The American Scholar. Her first book, WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM, was a Pulitzer finalist in nonfiction; her second, BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS, a New York Times Notable Book; her third, WILD NIGHTS: Nature Returns to the City, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.